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No Respect for Windows Open Source 551

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the open-source-is-as-open-source-does dept.
man_of_mr_e writes "Shaun Walker, one of the founding developers of the DotNetNuke Portal/CMS has written an interesting piece about Open Source software on the Windows platform. "It's hard being an open source project on the Microsoft platform. Because no matter how hard you try to exemplify true open source ideals, you will not get any respect from the non-Microsoft community." He also says "There are Open Source zealots who believe that unless an application is part of a stack which includes 100% Open Source services and components, that it can not claim to be Open Source. [...] But does this "stack" argument actually make any sense?""
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No Respect for Windows Open Source

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  • by dslauson (914147) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @06:49PM (#13928089) Journal
    I know a lot of people are going to say that if you want to use a content management tool like Dot Net Nuke, why not just go Linux instead.

    That's sometimes easier said than done. I worked for a company that had a huge existing codebase in ASP and C#, and they had already bought the licenses for Windows server. The actual Microsoft Content Management Server was so insanely prohibitively expensive that it wasn't even an option. Dot Net Nuke saved the day.

    For the open source model to become what people want it to become, it needs to be not only embraced by the slashdot community of Linux nerds, but by everbody else, as well. Stuff like this is a good start.
  • putty and winscp (Score:2, Interesting)

    by truckaxle (883149) * on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @06:53PM (#13928124) Homepage
    I have a lot of respect for the developers of putty and winscp both are windows based open source project and work wonderfully. I have even given up using samba altogether now and use winscp exclusively as a file manager and file transfer.
  • Re:On the contrary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The_Dougster (308194) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:04PM (#13928217) Homepage
    I personally use almost 100% open source stuff on my windows machines, but thats because of the following:

    • I'm already a long time Linux user
    • For me, its a productivity boost to use familiar apps
    • I'm not trying to convince somebody else to use it.
    • I'd rather spend my extra money on other things.

    I routinely install Cygwin, OpenOffice, Dia, Python, Ghostscript, GIMP, and several other lesser apps on my own personal windows machines. Aside from games and CAD, I can get a pretty complete system using free software.

    It is true though that for some unknown reason, corporate IT people won't even consider an open source app most of the time. Why businesses continue to hire these wastrels is beyond me though. Companies will throw millions of dollars into crappy proprietary software, then cut jobs when the red ink starts appearing.

  • Re:putty and winscp (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:10PM (#13928274)
    I agree. Putty and WinSCP are excellent tools which I use quite often in Microsoft Windows.
  • by Cannedbread (841645) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:21PM (#13928360) Homepage
    I have been doing open source programming in VB6 for 4 years.

    I had the utmost respect for OSS but no knowledge of linux or any of its programming languages, so i felt like opening up my Vb6 apps would be my small contribution to the world. i got no respect from any other programmers and i couldnt figure out why. they told me that as long as my projects were on a microsoft platform, in a proprietary language, that they could not fundimentally be open. i would forever be microsofts bitch.

    Then microsoft killed Vb6, and i understood what they meant.

    I am now writing this from a laptop i built especially for ubuntu and i need to stop looking at slashdot because my C homework is due in 3 hours.

  • by The_Dougster (308194) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @07:22PM (#13928369) Homepage
    Unless an application is running on a system in which the processor design, motherboard schematics and BIOS firmware are 100% Open Source, it can not claim to be Open Source.

    I don't personally agree with this statement. This is one of those logical fallacies, maybe a Straw Man [wikipedia.org]. Running on proprietary hardware has little or nothing to do with the fact that the software itself is Open Source.

    I always kind of felt that Stallman and his crew basically made the GNU userland so that when their expensive UNIX licenses expired on their proprietary mainframes, they could just replace the OS with their own and spend the money on more worthy projects, like buying better hardware.

    If you look at some of the checks that autoconf does, especially on really old versions of GNU software, its interesting to note that its checking for AT&T UNIX, DEC Ultrix, and all kinds of proprietary host systems. That software was made to install on "hostile" hosts at least until the Linux's became the platform of choice.

  • by The OPTiCIAN (8190) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:07PM (#13928730)
    I've found a couple of situations where free software has a better quality implementation on Windows than linux. I came to mozilla for Windows from a linux background. Yet there are several niggly ways in which mozilla/windows is better than mozilla/linux. One of them is the fact that you can't use ctrl+arrow in the address bar to select by word in linux.

    Eclipse is far more responsive and cleaner-looking on Windows than linux.

    I've used postgresql on linux for years and years. The other day I installed postgresql for Windows and was quite impressed by the implementation. It works like a Windows app but doesn't compromise performance or power.
  • by Danger Stevens (869074) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:14PM (#13928774) Homepage
    I recognize that ASP has some advantages in the way it handles components - especially third-party components, but VBScript is a nasty language. It compromises much of it's flexibility in the name of user friendliness, but then fails to be all that friendly.

    Ruby is an example of what VBScript should have been but completely failed at. PHP is, at it's heard, a procedural language but very robust and powerful applications have been built with it that would have taken many times more lines of code were they to have been written in VBScript for ASP. WordPress, for example, is highly modular and OO. I've looked at a few of it's core functions and converted them in my head to VBScript - it usually takes about 4 times as many lines of code and an awful lot of intermediate steps to do the exact same thing.

    VBScript is okay if it's all you've got, but I wouldn't recommend anybody choose it over Ruby, PHP, or maybe even Perl.
  • Open source driver? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:22PM (#13928833) Homepage
    The problem is that a significant cost in producing a hardware product - any hardware product - is the software engineering. If a Chinese company could "borrow" the driver for an ATI product, they would be one step closer to producing an ATI replacement product. I am sure they already either are licensing or "borrowing" the hardware bits.

    So, ATI knows this. All opening up the driver would do is (a) give people more of an opportunity to screw things up and (b) give a helping hand to people that want to drive them from the marketplace.

    Most video drivers these days are pretty large - larger than your average open source project - and unlikley to respond well to being tweaked by people unfamiliar with the architecture. Surely you don't think ATI's drivers are better self-documenting and structured than most open source projects, do you?
  • My perspective (Score:3, Interesting)

    by einhverfr (238914) <chris.traversNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:40PM (#13928944) Homepage Journal
    I use and recommend a lot of Free/Open Source software on Windows. I just don't use Windows for my own purposes, so most of these solutions tend to be cross-platform.

    I don't use Windows because I don't like the terms of the EULA. But I don't make that decision for my customers. In these cases, complimenting Windows with Free/Open Source software (like SpamBayes, Cygwin, and the like) makes a lot of sense. So while I make my own software use decisions around the stack argument, I want my customers to have access to Free Software regardless of what operating system they currently use.

    For the most part, I don't recommend a lot of Windows-only FOSS. Most of the projects I recommend are somewhat cross-platform. So a Free/Open Source Windows-only apps aren't going to get much of my notice. However, there are exceptions and I think it is important to cultivate a Windows-based open source community (if nothing else it will warm people up to other open source projects).
  • by smash (1351) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:40PM (#13928947) Homepage Journal
    M*soft will be rolling out Vista next year and 64 bit, yada yada. I'll buy it, you'll buy it, your company will buy it. Almost every new pc sold will have it installed. If you want to help the open source movement, you must develop for windows. Linux is not not a consumer os (yet). Right now it's for people who like spending 34 hours downloading, burning, compiling, coding, burning, downloading again (new distro this week),

    Still living in the 90s?

    That is simply no longer the case.

    Install ubuntu from CD, download nvidia driver (as you would need to with windows anyway), boom.

    Installed.

    Been using it for 6 months without even having a compiler installed.

    I will *not* buy Vista 64 bit (and not because I"m cheap/broke/live in mum's basement/whatever - I'm 28, living OUT of home and earning a decent wage with 90% disposable income).

    There's simply no need for it.

    Sure, there's a limited games selection, but there hasn't been a single game in the last 12 months thats really grabbed my attention in any case (and yes, I've been keeping an eye out/playing them from time to time on Windows) - except for GT4, which i play on PS2.

    I love how many people consider themselves an authority on the whole Windows v Linux debate, when they clearly have no experience with Linux since the mid-late 1990s...

    smash.

  • by csoto (220540) on Tuesday November 01, 2005 @08:43PM (#13928959)
    If your "stack" isn't entirely open, then you are at the mercy of a closed set of APIs. If Microsoft wishes to put you out of business, they simply need to change the API and deny you any information about the new API. You only get around this with open platforms.
  • Re:On the contrary (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paulkchen (38445) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @12:03AM (#13929903)

    heck even the Mac can't hold its own against Visio (plus OSX requires the much more expensive Illustrator just to match CorelDraw...)

    Actually, have you looked at OmniGraffle [omnigroup.com]? Some swear it's better than Visio. (I haven't used enough of either to any comparison.)

  • by flithm (756019) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:43AM (#13930262) Homepage
    It's good that this is modded as funny.

    People often quote the number of security advisories against a product as evidence of how secure it is. In some cases this is warranted, but this is not one of them... a general rule: comparing closed source and open source products in this fashion is not valid.

    Most security flaws in open source programs are discovered by people looking through the code, and noticing things like unchecked buffers, etc. In closed source programs, these types of flaws are found generally through more sinister means. What this means is usually closed source vulnerabilities are less frequently reported, but when they are they are generally more serious -- not because the potential exploit is more serious, but because it's almost always guaranteed that at the time of discovery a working exploit is already loose in the wild.

    And there are many other factors involved as well. Apache does WAY more things than IIS does (when you include all of the add on modules and so forth), and this is fair to say since the security advisories include problems that relate only to modules.

    The Apache 2.0.x stream is almost 6 years old now. IIS 6.0 has only been around for about a year or so.

    It seems silly to count the number of security vulnerabilities in a new closed source product against a much older, more widely used, more complex, open source one.

    Having said all of that, I feel the need to point out that secunia.org is really not a very trustworthy source of information. There are many known IIS 6.0 exploits that don't appear on that list.

    For example:

    IIS Information Disclosure [securiteam.com]

    I just wanted to say that you really can't do such a comparison.
  • Re:Not true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:11AM (#13930457) Homepage Journal
    ``Considering still 90% of people, inc me, use a Windows environment, having your software work on it is not a bad idea, unless you want to cut 90% of your market off without even trying. Get people onto free open source software and they may try your OS. I wouldn't have tried Linux if I hadn't tried OSS such as Firefox/OO, yes it's silly but I didn't know about it before them.''

    I disagree with you on every count. Windows may have 90% of the desktop market, but the figures are different in other segments. Which operating system is prevalent depends on your audience.

    Secondly, your suggestion that it would be a bad idea to cut off 90% of your market. Most open source projects are primarily written to suit the authors' needs, and shared with the world on the off-chance that anyone else finds the software useful. Market share isn't even close to a primary goal.

    From the above, it's clear that I don't accept your conclusion that running on Windows is good. However, there's another reason why supporting Windows is a bad idea: Windows works differently from all other operating systems out there. You can support most Unix-like systems with little effort, but supporting Windows typically requires a lot of extra work. I would rather spend that work improving my software instead of supporting a deviant operating system.

    Finally, you try to convince me I should get people to use open source software so they will try my OS. You know what? I don't care if people try my OS. If my OS happens to be better and have all this great open source software, it's your loss if you don't use it. However, if you want to keep using your proprietary OS with proprietary software, that's fine with me. Just don't bug me with your problems and your worms. You bring those upon yourself.
  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @03:11AM (#13930458) Homepage
    Open Source, two words. One means 'Open', e.g. the opposite of 'Closed' and the other one means sourcecode, together they mean: a non-closed form of sourcecode.

    Gee, since WHEN is that tied to CROSS PLATFORM crap? Because in this particular situation, it's very handy to use that cross-platform nonsense to hit back at this DNN OSS developer?

    It's precisely the whining YOU put forward in your posting what made him write the article.
  • by ajs318 (655362) <sd_resp2@@@earthshod...co...uk> on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @05:37AM (#13930815)
    Windows, by its very way of being, has instilled in people a certain culture that is at odds with the Open Source movement.

    Windows brings the idea that the act of writing software is a service that must be paid for, by charging money for the privilege of installing said software. The Open Source movement believes that the act of writing software should not chargeable. After all, the programmer who wrote it was going to write it anyway irrespective whether or not you paid for it; so refusing to hand it over without payment is just playing dog-in-the-manger -- and contravening Freedom Two in the process. But Windows goes on further and directly contravenes Freedoms One and Three {both of which are contingent upon the user having access to the source code, which is not supplied with the software} and even goes some way towards infringing upon Freedom Zero by means of the -- mercifully unenforcible -- End User Licence Agreement.

    If something costs money, goes the thinking, then it can be stolen. And so there has appeared a group of people who have obtained Windows and other software without paying for it. Microsoft calls these people "pirates" and "thieves"; in reality they have stolen nothing but are merely attempting unilaterally to assert Freedoms Zero and Two. This fuels an attitude amongst these people that they are "sticking it to The Man" somehow, when in fact they are just as dependent upon The Man as any paying customer. In fact, by far the vast majority of software used in the world consists of unpaid-for copies of Microsoft Windows and applications running upon it.

    Back in The Days, when computer users had no choice but to be knowledgeable in the field, the Four Freedoms could to a large extent be taken for granted. Computer users were effectively a society who looked after their own. Everyone benefitted from everyone else's work, and collaboration was the only way to advance. The community shared the bond that comes from a survival situation. The incompatibilities between different kinds of computer meant that the only feasible way to share software was in the form of source code {and often, different implementations of the "same" programming language meant that even this needed significant alteration}.

    Today, it is possible even for a person who knows nothing about the inner workings of a computer to use one. This situation has led to a large number of people who are ignorant of the existence of this thing called "source code", believing it to be of importance only to boffins in laboratories somewhere. This attitude is deplorable: it is like someone who lives in a city not caring about which plants are edible, or how to build a bivouac, dismissing such knowledge as of importance only to "survival nutters" and the Military. Even if you do not know these things yourself, it is important at least to have friends who know these things -- it might save your life one day.

    Ignorance of the benefits of the Four Freedoms is exactly what fuels the acceptance of the way Windows, and other closed-source software, trample on them. Windows users typically have been taught not to care about Open Source software. Either they expect to have to pay for software and not get the source code, or they expect to be able to get it without paying {like they are doing something big and clever} and do not care about the source code. Windows users who go on to become developers typically perpetuate the Cycle of Abuse by releasing their software closed-source. {cf. children brought up in violent families who go on to inflict violence upon their own children}. In some cases, the abuse of users' Four Freedoms is malicious but in many cases, it may be attributed to ignorance caused by developers having no better example.

    The kind of computer user who is savvy enough to understand the importance of the Four Freedoms in general, and source code in particular, typ
  • Re:Open source is... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fitten (521191) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @10:19AM (#13932206)
    His software is one of the temptations that we need to avoid if we're to obtain a fully free-software world.

    Assuming that is your goal. I, for one, do not have that as a goal. I'm happy with having both open and closed source and see no reason why I should *desire* to eliminate one or the other type of software. In fact, the idea is somewhat hypocritical.... "I want people to be free to develop software, but only under the type of license that I like."
  • Re:How open is C#? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Foofoobar (318279) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @11:28AM (#13932884)
    Since when have standards stood in Microsoft's way. Name one standard that they comply with that they don't own? Go ahead... name one. I know they haven't complied with any of the W3C standards forever and instead attempt to implement their own standards.

    Standards? They don't need no steenking standards!
  • Re:Free or not... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by inaequitas (885724) on Wednesday November 02, 2005 @01:27PM (#13934003) Homepage
    Well there's been some interchanging of "free" and "open" throughout the comment sections which I'm not sure is warranted since there's two different philosophies at work here in terms of software. But for all points and purposes I suppose I'll try and tackle both.

    Yes, GNU isn't interested in developing things which are not [or rather, cannot be] free from the ground up. That's why they don't endorse OpenOffice 2.0 or the Sun JDK [the former due to great use of the latter]. Sure, there was compromise at the beginning, what with having to develop GCC on some other compiler that wasn't free [if memory serves me right from "Revolution OS"], but the groundwork has been laid out and so there's nothing stopping the 'proper' development of free software now.

    But the perceived issue here is in regards to the politics of open source and the lack of understanding of those mentalities when it comes to Windows users. Indeed, it's hard to change that mindset overnight; as a University student [and a CS major to add to that] I'm faced with enough "pay me for my work" peers that cannot even begin to understand the point of doing something for free [they believe no one will donate a penny given the choice]. There's also the ones that use Linux due to financial constraints but have no other affinity to the OS or the mentality.

    I consider that neither of these groups can truly understand the nature of free and/or open source. While the world is happy enough with just one Richard Stallman, it cannot be denied that Linux is a movement that has more than just technological implications. Sure, it isn't communist [as it has been sometimes thrown around] but maybe some "technological marxism" [economically speaking] can be traced to it, and surely it bothers a lot of people.

    Okay, kinda went off-topic there, apologies.

    Windows OSS isn't a movement per-se. It's sprung as a by-product of the Linux/BSD OSS movements and lacks the drive or 'notoriety' characteristic to these. There's rarely any understanding of the core mentalities in most [read: average] Windows users and they'll look at anything free with incredulity at best and suspicion at worst.

    The non-Windows community doesn't disregard WinOSS based solely on the non-free stack upon which it tries to function: yes, I think it is generally a matter of portability rather than anything else. Most OSS devs work in free environments because it feels more 'at home' to do so; and non-portable code does not interest them since they cannot benefit it.

    The stack principle is valid in terms of free software; the mentioning of it here, when it comes to Open software, seems an indication of the lack of depth given to clearly understanding the difference between the two issues... wonder why you'd get shot down sometimes :)

    Cheers!

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